About this Famous Person
One of the foremost Confederate generals of the American Civil War
Source : Stéphane HOUZE
Longstreet was born in Edgefield District, South Carolina (in an area that is now part of North Augusta in Edgefield County). He was the fifth child and third son of James Longstreet (1783-1833), of Dutch descent and Mary Ann Dent (1793-1855) of English descent, originally from New Jersey and Maryland respectively, who owned a cotton plantation close to where the village of Gainesville would be founded in northeastern Georgia. James's ancestor Dirck Stoffels Langestraet immigrated to the Dutch colony of New Netherland in 1657, but the name became Anglicized over the generations. James's father was impressed by his son's "rocklike" character on the rural plantation, giving him the nickname Peter, and he was known as Pete or Old Pete for the rest of his life.
James's father decided a military career for his son, but felt that the local education available to him would not be adequate preparation. At the age of nine, James was sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Augusta, Georgia. His uncle, Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, was a newspaper editor, educator, and a Methodist minister. James spent eight years on his uncle's plantation, Westover, just outside the city, while he attended the Academy of Richmond County. His father died from a cholera epidemic while visiting Augusta in 1833; although James's mother and the rest of the family moved to Somerville, Alabama, following his father's death James remained with uncle Augustus.